An Irresistible Bachelor

Beauty and the Black Sheep

His Comfort and Joy by Jessica Bird
(Silh. Sp. Ed. #1732, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0373-24732-X
The title of the story gave me pause – what about HER comfort and joy? As it turns out, the title is appropriate. It is all about him. This is never a good sign and if you like your characters to be in relationships where they are equals, avoid His Comfort and Joy.

The second of the Moorehouse Legacy series, the tale relates the adventures of Joy Moorehouse and her long time crush Gray Bennett. Joy is a homebody and is known by all as sweet, quiet, unassuming and willing to do anything for anyone. Up to now, she lives at the inn the family operates, taking care of their grandmother, who has dementia and her brother, Alex, who was injured in a sailing accident. She has a hobby of designing clothes, the result of taking care of her grandmother. Grandma has the delusion that she is still a young girl and demands that she be dressed to the nines in gowns from the 40’s and 50’s. Joy has taught herself how to design these gowns and makes them and remakes them to keep her calm. Joy has had a crush on Gray since her childhood, but has convinced herself that she will never be good enough for him and that her fantasies will never come true.

Gray Bennett is a neighbor of the Moorehouse’s whose family still has a summer home in the Adirondacks resort area near the inn. Gray is smart and has been involved as a consultant in politics for years. He is only in his thirties, but he is powerful and has the ear of senators and even the President. He helps win elections and is seen as a force in the political world. He is also cynical about women. His father, who was also in politics and the legal world, loved his mother. But his mother was never satisfied and cheated constantly with other men. Gray had to live with the revolving door of men and also keeping the secret from his father. He resented how the eventual divorce left his father a broken man and thus sees marriage as a major sham to be avoided.

Gray has had two close friends with good marriages. One friend died in the same accident that injured Alex, and Gray feels helpless in helping widow Cassandra Cutler recuperate. Another friend is a senator who seems to have a loving and secure relationship with his wife. But Gray has just discovered that he has been cheating on her. His view of marriage is now even more of a mess.

So when Gray and Joy meet again and the sexual sparks seem to fly, neither knows exactly how to handle it. Joy cannot believe it is real and Gray is certain it is not anything more than lust. Yet, he also wants Joy to be more – he wants her to be pure and innocent. They start off with misunderstandings and the tale continues this pattern.

Joy deserves so much more than Gray in this story, but her lack of self-esteem didn’t help her either. She actually keeps throwing herself at him and then surprises herself when she stands up to his poor treatment of her. But there she is again, back for more. Gray is a mess. The author tried to make the reader feel compassion for him, but he is beyond compassion. He is just a jerk, in his business life and in his personal life. He sees deceit in everything Joy does.

The only good thing in the story was the intriguing look at Alex, who will be featured in the next Legacy book. I enjoyed the first book in the series, Beauty and the Black Sheep, but His Comfort and Joy is one book to skip on by.

--Shirley Lyons

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